Inside BGU’s New Aquaponics System

At Ben-Gurion University (BGU), we’re turning desert sand into fertile farmland with our new indoor aquaponics system in Sde Boker. This project is all about making farming work in places where water is scarce and the land is dry.

What’s Aquaponics? 

Aquaponics is a cool way to farm that combines raising fish (aquaculture) with growing plants without soil (hydroponics). In our system, the water from the fish tanks helps the plants grow, and the plants clean the water for the fish. It’s a win-win!

Our Setup

Our setup includes a big tank that holds 1 cubic metre of water where we raise barramundi, a type of fish that’s really good at living in different environments. We can keep a lot of fish in our tank—up to 100 kilograms in just one cubic metre of water!

Turning Waste into Food

We also built a special system that takes the waste from the fish and turns it into food for the plants. This system, called an anaerobic fermentation system, can handle up to 700 litres of fish waste. It’s important because it makes sure nothing goes to waste.

Growing Plants Vertically

Alongside our fish, we’re growing plants in a vertical setup. This means we stack the plants up high to save space and use water more efficiently. We control everything the plants need—like light and air—to make sure they grow healthy and strong.

Connecting Everything Together

Right now, we’re working on connecting the fish tanks to the plant setups so they can start helping each other grow. We think everything will be up and running smoothly in the next month or two.

What’s Next? 

Once everything is connected, our aquaponics system will be fully operational. This project isn’t just about growing fish and plants—it’s about finding new ways to farm in the desert and other tough places around the world.

Our demonstration case at BGU is about more than just farming. It’s about finding new ways to make the most of what we have, even in challenging environments like the desert. Keep an eye on this space—we’re excited to show you what comes next!


This publication reflects the views of the author only. The European Commission and PRIMA Foundation cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Ce projet (AG n° [2242]) fait partie du programme PRIMA soutenu par l'Union européenne.

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